The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved an application from Williams (NYSE: WMB) and Williams Partners LP (NYSE: WPZ) for Gulf Trace, a 1.2 million dekatherm per day expansion of the Transco pipeline system to serve the Cheniere Energy Partners LP (NYSE: CQP) Sabine Pass liquefaction project being developed in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The Sabine Pass LNG export terminal will connect US natural gas supplies with global LNG markets.
Transco, a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams Partners, has executed an agreement with Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC, for the entire capacity of the Gulf Trace project.
The Sabine Pass export terminal is currently under construction and first LNG is expected in late 2015. Once complete, the Sabine Pass liquefaction terminal will be the first large-scale LNG export facility in operation in the US, with six LNG trains and expected nominal production capacity of 27 million tonnes per annum. Sabine Pass Liquefaction’s project is supported by long-term contacts with several LNG off-take shippers and is expected to provide LNG for export to diverse markets overseas.
The Gulf Trace project is designed to make Transco’s production area mainline and southwest Louisiana lateral systems bidirectional from Station 65 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, to Cameron Parish. In addition to the pipeline reversal, a new, 7-mi. 36-in. lateral pipeline, the expansion of an existing compressor station and a new greenfield compressor station are planned in order to provide firm transportation service to the Sabine Pass LNG facility.
The target in-service date is first-quarter 2017, subject to timely receipt of all necessary remaining approvals by regulatory bodies.
Gulf Trace is part of $5.1 billion in transmission growth projects Williams Partners plans to bring into service in the eastern US between 2015 and 2017. Williams Partners is executing on 15 projects in 10 eastern states to serve growing demand for natural gas to serve power generation, industrial and local distribution customers. Once complete, these projects will increase Transco’s system capacity by more than 57%.
So far this year, Williams Partners has placed into service the Virginia Southside Expansion, Rockaway Delivery Lateral, the Northeast Connector, Mobile Bay South III Expansion and the Woodbridge Delivery Lateral. Williams Partners expects to place into full service Transco’s Leidy Southeast expansion by year’s end.